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Re: [xmca] Re: xmca Digest, Vol 53, Issue 8


I would agree.  I wasn't exampling existence though; I was trying to 
correlate the squirrel to context.  Different horses but still in the same 

Your take would be consistant seeing as James and Hegel were not 


Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
Sent by: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
10/09/2009 08:57 AM
Please respond to ablunden; Please respond to "eXtended Mind, Culture, 

        To:     "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
        Subject:        Re: [xmca] Re: xmca Digest, Vol 53, Issue 8

I don't mind an operational definition of existence, but I'm 
not so happy about the category of existence for me, i.e., 
an individual subjective definition of existence. I mean, 
the existence of the squirrel depends on me? "Existence" is 
surely something that is not dependent on my personal view 
of things at the moment. Isn't that what "existence" means?


ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org wrote:
> Could we return to James' example of the squirrel circling the tree.  If 
> person circles the tree so the squirrel is never in view does that 
> the existance of the squirrel for that person?  A person's context may 
> as the squirrel.  Hence, the talking past each other that happens 
> sooooooooo frequently on this listserv!  I being as guilty as any in my 
> misinterpretation based on my particular contextual understandings.
> Jokes also fall into this category.  Some find Chris Rock to be 
> other view him as a blight on the American cultural landscape.
> Context makes all the difference.
> What do other's think?
> eric
> Gregory Allan Thompson <gathomps@uchicago.edu>
> Sent by: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
> 10/08/2009 03:26 PM
> Please respond to "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
>         To:     xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>         cc: 
>         Subject:        [xmca] Re: xmca Digest, Vol 53, Issue 8
> Ha! (to Mike)
> Now the question, of course, with any instance of chaining
> complexes is: What precisely is it that is being chained i.e.,
> does Mike's "academic bullshit" refer to Bush/Palin or
> Silverstein? or even, and this is a stretch, to me?. The
> question being asked here is a question of the
> entextualization of talk-as-text - i.e., how does an instance
> of talk (as text) become entextualized such that it is
> decodable as an instance of "talking about X" (or, for that
> matter, "arguing about X"). 
> As participants in conversation, we build a coherent
> understanding of our interlocutor's utterance via a complex
> ethnometapragmatics of indexicalities (aka "contextualization
> cues"). It is through the congeries of indexicalities present
> in a stretch of talk that individuals can then begin to
> constitute an "X" that was being discussed. The catch is that
> the meaning of individual indexicalities will depend on other
> elements of the context of talk (which themselves are also
> invoked through various layers of indexicality, some via
> language, some via things like insittutional roles). In
> particular, the frame of the interaction (what is going on
> here? - i.e. what are we "doing" here - collegially chatting?
> arguing? berating? joking?) becomes essential for decoding
> what is being indexically conjured up as the entexutalized
> "chain complex". In addition, it is further helpful to have
> knowledge of the identities of participants (who is this
> person that has suggested this?), along with our own
> ethnopsychologies of speakers' intentionalities and things
> like this (what might such a person have "intended" by this
> utterance?). (as a footnote, I liken the complexity of
> interactions to the three body problem in Physics, each layer
> of determining context is affecting the other such that, just
> as it is impossible to predict the movement of three bodies in
> orbit around one another in three dimenasions, it is
> impossible to predict the precise outcome of a given stretch
> of talk.). And after all that, there is always the possibility
> that as a participant A) you could be wrong or B) something
> new is introduced into the conversation that flips the meaning
> of what came before (what Silverstein calls the defeasibility
> of contexts).
> [Did someone say something about academic bullshit? (but this
> does indeed point to an interesting way in which chaining of
> complexes in the denotata of discourse can cross over into the
> interactional plane such that the suggestion of "academic
> bullshit" by another can provoke me to inhabit the identity of
> "academic bullshitter" or alternatively, an identity of
> plain(s)speaker (whether one speaks 'plainly' or as one from
> the 'plains' - i.e. Midwest, "accentless", down-to-earth
> English), a tell it like it is sort of person who uses words
> like "bullshit" to cut to the core of all that high falutin'
> crap.]
> The above is just an idea of what the world of Silverstein can
> "do" in the pursuit of understanding language and social
> interaction (and I certainly haven't done justice to his
> ideas). I think it is an immensely powerful way of seeing
> language and yields great insights into how language and
> social interaction work. I'd also note that I'm comfortable
> with the argument that the obtuseness of the language is
> necessary precisely because we have emic ways of understanding
> language that hide many of its properties from view. 
> At the same time, I think that it is often the case that
> employing Silverstein's framework for understanding something
> like activity or classroom learning is much like trying to use
> quantum mechanics to fix a car. An engineer can do better. A
> car mechanic could do still better. But that then raises
> questions about whether or not CHAT/MCA folk see their project
> as one that is more equivalent to engineering or to
> theoretical physics or to car mechanics.
> And btw, for an interesting syllabus on teaching bullshit,
> check out:
> http://nathaniel.hansen.googlepages.com/TellingtheTruthfinalversion.pdf.
> Oh, and please call me "Greg", or even "greg", I use "Gregory"
> on my email "handle" in order to project the identity of
> someone who can competently inhabit the identity of an
> academic bullshitter, but it takes some work...
> cheers,
> greg
>> Message: 3
>> Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2009 06:29:42 -0700
>> From: mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Leontiev and Sign (Silverstein and complexes)
>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>> Message-ID:
>> <30364f990910080629w1a27e186y46084c55b7f8840@mail.gmail.com>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
>> Perfect timing, Gregory. This morning my senior seminarian
> will be
>> discussing Peter et al's paper on academic bullshit......
>> (just chaining)
>> mike
> ---------------------------------------
> Greg Thompson
> Ph.D. Candidate
> The Department of Comparative Human Development
> The University of Chicago
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Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov, 
Ilyenkov $20 ea

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